Header Image - Helping you celebrate life

Blog

39 Articles

Royal Wedding has been announced

A Royal Wedding has been announced and we are to expect it in the Spring of next year!   Huge Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle on their engagement, it is just the kind of news we need for the forthcoming year.  What a year it is going to be for the Royal Family, with a Wedding and a new Baby due around July!

I wonder what we can expect for the wedding, will it be a low key affair?  Or Westminster Abbey?   Will there be time for everyone to be invited and accept?  Afterall lots of Royals around the world have full diaries before the year begins, will there be cancelations?  I know I would be loath to cancel a Wedding I would be conducting if it clashed,  but I might be persuaded to actually mention that wedding too, but only if my Bride and Groom were up for it.   It is sometime taken as an honour to be married on the same date as a Royal, it has even been known for couples to move their date to the same day.  However others try to avoid it at all costs because they will be aware that their guest would wish to be viewing the Royal wedding on television.  However they could arrange to have it screened, wonder how many will?  I am sure there will be lots of speculation of Meghan’s dress, will it follow the type that Kate wore or will she go for the low cut effect?

It would be lovely if Prince Harry and Meghan decided to include a  hand tying within their ceremony,  how spiritual would that be?   I know that they could not have a full handfasting officially but I am always available if they wanted one afterwards on the lawns of Buckingham Palace!   Jumping the broom into their next stage of their lives together would be wonderful.  Come on Buck Palace give me that call!   Start a new tradition for the Royals to have two ceremonies, one formal and the really spiritual one to connect to the earth and all nature around us!

 

 

Remembrance Day

by Sheila Ellis 0 Comments

DSC01033For Remembrance Day we were so proud that David was asked by some of our villages if he would conduct a non-religious ceremony.   That happened today and although not a big turnout there were a nice number of people.  We had the two minute silence at 11am. David announced the names of all those village men that had lost their lives in both WWW and we planted a little cross for each under a Willow tree on the green.   DSC01034David then asked each and everyone to offer their own personal memories of the effects that wars had had on their families and friends.   Each was very moving and a few tears were shed.

Once the ceremony had finished we were all invited back to a local farm for refreshments and a chat.   I was talking to a gentlemen whose family has always lived in the village and he now lives in his Grandfather’s house and each and every male of the family had been in the war and fortunately all returned but yet some have been traumatised but they we expected to get on with their lives as usual and they did.   He told me about his mother with him in a pram was used as a target by a german plane while she was walking from her house to her in-laws house and ended up jumping into the hedgerow to get out of the way, once the plane has passed she just continued on her way as though nothing had happened.    It was really good to hear of each persons memories or those memories passed down about how people coped during those war years.

Added to today David is also saying a piece during the Church Remembrance day tomorrow.

Being a Celebrant certainly is fun and you never know what you will be asked to do which is why it is a brilliant job.

Most requested Ceremony dates

The most requested ceremony dates are not always the same date each year.   2018 appears to be a date in  August.  However, this year is was a date in June and last year a date in July and in 2015 it was an August date again.   There is no reason that we, Celebrants, can see for each date that appears popular for that particular year.20161023_69

Let me assure all the couples out there that are wanting the popular date of that particular year, we celebrants do have a network of colleagues that we can call upon or recommend if we get an enquiry for the popular date and we are already booked.  Before recommending them we always ask if they are available, and if so contact the next on the list and so forth,  But  if you wish to book us in particular. then you may have to be a little flexible on your time of the day so that we may accommodate both ceremonies without rushing.    Or maybe consider another date or the next day.   We do hate to disappoint couple who particularly wish us to conduct their ceremony and do everything possible to help.

At this moment in time I do have enquiries for this popular date, one of which was last year but no amount of correspondence has brought forth a deposit, which secures the date and time in my diary.   I know sometimes couples find it hard to pay everyone’s deposit so I do have a payment system, and the Bride to be assures me that she considers me booked!   I have written to her several times kindly telling her that I am not officially booked without her deposit or the start of the payment plan.   I have already turned down one other enquiry for the same date and now I have another enquiry so unfortunately I have to take the decision to look favourably on this new enquiry and if all goes well, and no reason why it should not, their deposit will be paid and it will be secured in my diary and no further ceremonies will be considered for that date and time.    It will be disappointing to have to tell the original enquirer that I can no longer perform her ceremony and I shall not look forward to doing so but without her deposit the date has not been secured.

I am only writing this to explain to others that they must make sure that the services of their preferred supplier is secured by paying their deposit.  No one likes to let people down but when it is a favoured date and with so many enquiries for that date you must secure us!

Unfortunately no one can predict which date will be the favourite for 2019 but enquiries are already coming in so make sure by paying that deposit.

Church Wedding and Handfasting

Every thought that you would have both a Church Wedding and Handfasting too?   Well that is just what a couple did last year.   I remember the first visit when they told me that the Handfasting, that they had engage me for, was to be held at the reception venue after the Church Wedding, AND they had invited the Vicar to attend too!  No pressure then!     I did ask why, and they said that they had recently discovered their spirituality but had already booked their wedding in the Church and they were friends of the Vicar so decided to go ahead with both.    At the first meeting I was blown away with what the couple wish for in their Handfasting ceremony. 20161023_68  They had already order the butterflies for a release but they had also booked Dove releasing too.20161023_50

Everything I suggested as options they decided they wish to have included making a very special ceremony indeed.    A full circle of the guest was at first what they wished for and this was to be outside the marquee on the lawn of their venue.   However, when discussing how it would all work it was decided that wet grass and ladies in high heels would20161023_60 not really mix so plan B was put into operation and a wooden gazebo at the venue was hired to house the two tables and for the ceremony.

On the day of the ceremony we arrived our usual one hour before the time of the ceremony, everyone was still in the Church across the road.   We set up the altar with the elements represented, we were given the beautiful cage of butterflies and met up with the people with the Doves and discuss the best place for their release so everyone could see it and, more importantly, the doves could fly in a circle over the heads of the guests.  Fortunately we had met the people before so we knew how they worked and what to expect, all of which was written into the script.

With everything ready and the Wedding singer warming up the guests started to arrive.  I soon realised that my couple had not told their guests that there was to be another ceremony and I gave up trying to stop everyone wandering into the sacred and cleanse ceremony area.   By the time the couple arrived all 200 guests had champagne in hand and suddenly realising that something else was going to happen!20161023_45

The only hitches that occurred were firstly the butterflies didn’t wish to fly out of their cage because the sun had started to go down and they were cold.  But actually it was a blessing in the end because those that did eventually fly out flew onto the couple and guests which thrilled everyone.   The other hitch was the fact that the couple had never tasted mead before, so when we did the bread and mead ceremony they loved it so much they drank it all down and the groom’s glass was empty when the photographer wanted to them to raise their glasses.  I had to quickly fill it up again.20161023_63

All the guests said how lovely and special the whole ceremony was and I think so much so because it was unexpected.

I am not sure if I will ever conduct another Handfasting straight after a Church Wedding again, but I have lovely memories of this one if I don’t.   Oh yes, the Vicar declined the invite!

Handfasting Venues

I am always looking around for lovely Handfasting Venues that couples will fall in love with and have everything that a spiritual ceremony needs.   As you may be aware Handfasting are, in general, held out in the nature, surrounded by nature.  So venues have to be in lovely setting and if beautiful too, even better.

On the top of a windy hill

On the top of a windy hill

 

I have already conducted Handfasting in the middle of Stonehenge, which was awesome and moving at sunrise. No one other than those invited. No visitors touring around the outside. Just us, the stones and the sunrise!

I have also conducted Handfastings on windy hilltops with the guests tents making their own little village.   In woods full of wonderful bluebell, which smell divine.  In parkland gardens with cobbled stonewalls.

Handfasting in a field

Handfasting in a field

In the middle a grass field which had a track and a circle mowed especially for the ceremony.   One in the lovely private garden, under a beautiful willow tree next to a stream which had a cute brick build bridge over for the party to cross to the ceremony area.

 

But apart from the fields and gardens there are other stone circles across the country and of course there is the Tor and Chalice Wells Gardens, where I will have the honour of conducting a Vow Renewal Handfasting Ceremony next year (2018) and also looking at one in the Avebury Circle too.

As I have already said I also conduct Handfastings in the fields of the Healing Weekend and will be there again next year.   So you see I go far and wide helping couples with their ideal Handfasting in their ideal part of their world and it is a real pleasure for me.

Also a pleasure for me is being able to announce that I have been talking to an established venue, which again is in the middle of nowhere, called The Lost Village of Dode.   This venue has a decommissioned church that they now use for weddings and which also doubles up for ceremony banquets.  Not only this they have made their own beautiful stone circle and called it Holly Henge.    This stone circle is down a slope away from the church and the whole overlooks more fields and nature, no other buildings in sight, it is truly amazing.   What is more amazing is that I am now a recommended Celebrant for this beautiful place and am now offering Handfastings in the middle of these stones.   I already have a couple very interested in having their ceremony there next year.   If you too would like to know more about Handfastings and also the venue of the lost village please do contact me.   Also if you know of any venue that would be lovely for Handfastings, or if you own such a venue, please do contact me so we can talk through how we can promote your venue and Handfastings together.

2018 Healing Weekend

 

On The Healing Weekend field

Ceremony Arch

The Healing Weekends in Somerset are an annual trip for us.  One that is so enjoyable for the Handfastings that we officiate and also because I, Sheila, also get to give Healing too.   Not many know but I am also a trained Healer with the Kent International Healing Association.   It is something that I have done for many years but generally only for family and friends.  Only in the recent years have I expanded to those that contact me through the KIHA website. On the Healing Weekend field we split our space so we have a lovely healing area, which also doubles as a space to chat about Handfastings with couples.  The rest is set up with leaflets and information about our work and  further on the field we have the ceremony area with flowered arch.

 

 

Although we were booked for this year’s (2017)Healing Weekend as usual, we had a very close relative’s Wedding to attend on that same weekend in Scotland.   After much searching and requests to our fellow FOIC trained celebrants, two very kind ladies offer to help us out.   The lovely Tanya and Wendy were both new to Celebrant work so it was an ideal opportunity for them to gain experience with Handfastings at a festival.   We of course gave them as much help as we possibly could and loaned much of our equipment too.  We really appreciated that they were continuing to offer Handfastings to the visitors of The Healing Weekend.  They also understood and were happy that we would take it up again in 2018.

So we are!  We have already been booked for next year’s Healing Weekend

and are so looking forward to being back on the field  doing what we love.  We are already receiving enquiries for the Handfastings, which is lovely!   So if you wish to book in for your Handfasting in 2018 please do get in touch quickly.

Hopefully we will see you on the field xxx

Port Lympne Wedding Fair, See you there!

We are going to be at the Port Lympne Wedding fair on Sunday 5th March 2017.

Port Lympne 5th March 2017

This is an amazing venue, not only

Steps in the garden at Port Lympne Hotel

Steps in the garden at Port Lympne Hotel

because it is a Safari Park with the option of your guest going on the safari as part of your day but it has amazing gardens, lovely water features that you could have your ceremony at the side of or the steps where all your guests would be able to see you at all times.

 

Do come along to the fair and us and other recommended suppliers of this beautiful venue.   We will be on hand to answer all or any question that you may have about holding a Celebrant lead ceremony here.    Looking forward to meeting you all

Calling all Couples

Calling all couples! At the end of December it will be the end of all our Wedding Fair offer that we have promoted during the year.   All those Couples who signed up with us and have not yet booked your ceremony, you must do so before the end of December in order to gain the £50 off our fees.   Unfortunately we will not be using this promotion again,  so even if you are thinking of a date in 2018 and book us before the end of 2017 you will still receive the £50 off.

With the rising costs we will be increasing our fees in line with other Celebrants in the area.  So it makes even more sense to book before the offer ends.

So if you wish for a Ceremony that can be performed at any venue and anywhere in a venue, inside or out, plus having a Wedding that is unique to you only and can be themed to whatever you wish and include whoever or whatever you wish now is the time to book.

We will be attending Wedding Fair in the Kent area in the Spring so look out for us.  We are looking at other offers for the next year.20160228_4

It has been some time……….

I haven’t blogged for a while, as I wrote in my last blog it has been a very busy few weeks.  Although attending my Aunt’s funeral in Lancashire it was lovely catching up with family that I haven’t seen……..   emmm …. probably since the last family funeral,  here are always sad times but also good too.

The rehearsal and Wedding for Sophia and Neil went really well in spite of the cold wind on the top of the hill! 20160917_156 At the beginning the Ceremony was to be held in the woods at Fern and Fields but it was decided that 20160917_302the woods would be too dark so it was transferred to the top of the hill.   The whole ceremony was filled with fun and laughter all the way through right to the last when I had to surprise all their 100 guest by getting them to jump the broom and then form a circle to sing the Hokey Cokey!   You can see by the pictures that they loved jumping the broom and some did it twice.   Everyone joined in with the Hokey Cokey once they realised what I was singing!20160917_322

The wedding fair at Port Lympne was really good, we met lots off couples and some left their emails for us to contact them with more information, I shall be doing so within the next week.

Our holidays in Scotland was very wet, windy and cold but so good again catching up with family, it is such a beautiful scenery and we will be back again next year for a Wedding celebration!

It is amazing that it was only a week ago that we return home having stopped off on the way in Leicester to conduct a family Handfasting.  I did feel for the couple when we had such lovely weather on the Friday and Sunday but Saturday, the day of the ceremony the weather was dier but we still went ahead and held it outside under their willow tree and by their stream.   In spite all of getting very wet the ceremony was lovely and I hope the photographer managed to get some lovely photos.

Since being home I went to see Andy and Lea about their wedding for next May, another very different ceremony.  On Wednesday we went to meet up with Sue and Wyatt again and go through their requirements for their Handfasting after their Church wedding.  This is for later this month   so hoping that the Sun sticks around!

Yesterday saw us at the Discovery Park at Sandwich for our second wedding fair this Autumn.  It was fun meeting up with new suppliers and especially meeting Pete for the very first time.20161009_26320161009_260

Our next wedding fair is next Saturday at the Kent County Cricket Grounds.  If you are going too please do come and introduce yourselves and find out what we could offer you in a ceremony.

A very busy week

It has been a really busy week this week.  We had Jon and Katy’s wedding on the 3rd September, this ceremony had been book for some time and our meetings were very early so even though we had kept in touch through emails it was lovely to meet up with them again and also meet their lovely children.   20160903_346

The wedding ceremony was not to take place at a Grand place but in the grounds of their friends pub with teepees for the party area.  It may not have everything a Grand place could offer but you could feel the love all around.   The children were so well behaved and polite, such a credit to Katy and Jon.   They all had duties and carried them out brilliantly.20160903_501

We had a rare Sunday off but then there was the general household duties and also some gardening.  Monday and Tuesday I was catching up and writing a script for a last minute wedding on the Friday.  The couple had cancelled their previous ceremony due to the Bride’s father falling ill but they decided to go ahead with the arranged Party.  However, the Groom’s mother contacted me to ask if I was free to conduct their ceremony.  Once she knew I was free she talked to the couple who were all for it too.

But before the Friday it has been a busy week with organising a CPR training session for the villages, a Healing session book in,  on Thursday we had to be up early to catch the train to London to attend The Good Funeral Awards luncheon.  David decided to wear a new waistcoat that I made for him,  I will add that he had chosen the material.   I believe due to this he caught the eye of The Independent photographer and the photo was included in an article in the Newspaper.   The actual luncheon was delayed due to late comers so we only just had time to eat our dessert before having to rush to catch the train home, throw some food at our dogs and then rush out to the new Team Vicars inaugural service.at-the-2016-good-funeral-awards

Friday found us out in the morning to a meeting of friends to discuss several projects for our Reflections of death and dying side.  We came home and I was busy altering the script for the afternoon with last minute changes.

The ceremony was for 4pm so I was at the venue the Boys Hall in Ashford, for just gone 3pm and chattered with the Bride , Groom and Sue, my first contact.  The venue is a licenced Registered premises but, because they could, the couple rejected the usual Gazebo for a lovely corner of the beautiful gardens.   Again it was a small affair but that did not take away the intimacy of the ceremony and the feeling of love and support the family gave the couple.20160909_582

So back to the present, a weekend off to recover?  well that is how to view it, but it is, again, a catch up time on those household chores, making lists of things that need to be done in the next couple of days, doing them, and then Monday packing my suit case for my travels to see family and attend the funeral of a loved Aunt and then returning on Thursday to finished everything for the rehearsal on Friday and the ceremony on the Saturday.  Then the first Wedding fair of the season on Sunday a   t the lovely venue of Port Lympne Manor.  After which we will be packing up for our much needed Holiday.  But that is not the end, on the way back  from holidays we will be stopping at Leicester to conduct a hand fasting.